We Supply the Weapons
by James Glaser
April 9, 2015
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When I was in Vietnam up near the DMZ at Signal Hill above LZ Stud a bit west of The Rock Pile in Highway 9, a NVA unit was using a pack howitzer to fire a few rounds. They would fire and then quickly move to a new location so our counter motor radar units couldn't pinpoint their location and call in fire. The wheels came off the barrel, and a few guys could carry the barrel, and two could roll the wheels to where they wanted to fire again. Taken apart, it could be moved quickly down a trail instead of rolling it down a road.

Well those North Vietnamese screwed up, and they set up that artillery piece where they were seen and fired on by Marine ground troops, and that small cannon was captured. I saw on the barrel that it was inscribed with "Made in USA 1942". About six months later one of our officers told us that Intelligence reported that canon was given to the Chinese back in WWII to fight the Japanese.

Right after George W. Bush lied us into war with Iraq, I started giving talks at high school history classes in Northern Minnesota about what war was like. My talks were anti-war, and I wanted the students to be better informed than I had been about what "signing-up" really meant. Being the Commander of the local VFW Post gave me some sort of credentials for these talks.

I always started out my talk saying, "If you kill my mother or father, sister or brother, or God forbid, my child, or even my best friend down the block, I will hate you until the day I die." I would go on to say that since the end of WWII we, the United States of America, had killed millions of innocent civilians all around the world—over one million in Vietnam alone. That meant that a lot of people hated, if not us, our country.

I would also tell these students that I believed that when some terrorist is moving around his country trying to figure out how to attack the US, he would find at least food and shelter from anyone who had lost a loved one to America's military.

Today I think about those talks and how much more hate we have built up, and I realized it is not just the American military killing people that builds up hate for us, but also the weapons we supply to the rest of the world to kill with. Every weapon we sell or give away has stamped on it, "Made in USA".

The Palestinians in Gaza know that America supplies the weapons that Israel uses to kill Palestinian children. It doesn't matter what you or I think about the conflict going on over there between Gaza and Israel. What matters is that our weapons are being used to kill innocent children. Think about that for a moment. Now think about the mind-boggling reality that the same can be said for Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Syria, Yemen, Egypt, Libya, and on and on.

This is how Foreign Policy Group reports some of our arms sales

The State Department's Military Assistance Report on June 8 stated that it approved $44.28 billion in arms shipments to 173 nations in the last fiscal year, including some that struggled with human rights problems. These nations include the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Israel, Djibouti, Honduras, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Bahrain.

Three nations with records of suppressing democratic dissent in the last year—Algeria, Egypt, and Peru—are listed in the report as recently receiving U.S. firearms, armored vehicles, and items from a category that includes chemical and riot control agents like tear gas. The State Department confirmed that U.S. tear gas was delivered to Egypt up to the end of November, but has declined to confirm it was also sent to Algeria and Peru.

So, can you see why many people think of the United States as the Merchant of Death because of all the weapons we sell and give away around the world? Now here's another twist to this tale of terror: some of those weapons like that pack howitzer in Vietnam are used against us at a future date. Again, stop and think about it. Weapons and ammunition made in our factories by American citizens just like you and me, kill our own citizens, our sons and daughters.

Sometimes, the weapons we supply to countries appear many decades later, because a political friend today can be an enemy years later. For example, we backed Iraq and Saddam Hussein in his war against Iran. Iran had been our "friend" for about 20 years. In that war, troops on both sides were using "Made in USA" weapons.

Now the leaders of foreign nations want our weapons so that they can stay in power, but after decades of putting our weapons all around the world, the people of those nations have figured out that all our talk of democracy is richly tainted with American Corporations' lust for profits, and that proves to be more problem than solution to their woes.

Someday, the world is going to wake up to the fact that it is American bombs and bullets that are killing their loved ones, and that America is making a profit off every death almost everywhere in the world. They will realize we have been doing this for generations. And when that happens, how will any American citizen be able to claim they are innocent? You see, we are the Merchants of Death. We supply the weapons.

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